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New models - Toyota - LandCruiser 70 - 78 Series cab-chassis

First Oz drive: 78 Series comes to town

Sales hope: Toyota is predicting sales of 1000 units per month for the upgraded 78 Series range.

A more powerful engine heads the upgrade of Toyota's 78 Series LandCruiser

Toyota logo9 Nov 2001

AFTER two years on the market in its current form, Toyota has given the workhorse 78 Series LandCruiser range a significant boost with the introduction of a new, more powerful engine, additional high-grade variants and increased specification levels.

The Australian release of the turbo-diesel powered Troop Carrier and Cab Chassis models also marks their world debut, with Toyota choosing Down Under for the launch as it is now the largest market in the world for the 78 Series LandCruiser.

Pricing for the updated 78 Series range starts at $46,500 for the existing petrol-engined Cab Chassis, rising to $59,380 for the high-grade turbo-diesel, five-seat RV Troop Carrier.

Within that price range there are nine models encompassing three engines, two body styles and two equipment levels.

But it is the new turbo-diesel engine that deserves the most attention as it is the key aspect of the upgrade and one that Toyota believes will help increase its share of the heavy 4x4 market from 60 per cent to as high as 75 per cent.

The 4.2-litre, six-cylinder, direct-injection turbo-diesel engine has been brought over from the 100 Series LandCruiser passenger wagon range, where it was introduced this time last year.

But it has been re-engineered for this application with the biggest change the removal of the 100 Series engine's intercooler, as it would not fit into the engine bay of the 78 Series.

For that reason, power has dropped from 151kW to 122kW at 3400rpm while peak torque is down 50Nm to 380Nm between 1400 and 2600rpm. But while the outputs are down on the donor engine, they still represent increases of 27 and 33 per cent respectively over the naturally aspirated 78 Series diesel engine.

Toyota also claims the new powerplant has 15 per cent more torque and 7 per cent more power than its nearest rival, the Nissan Patrol Cab Chassis turbo-diesel, which makes it a class-leader.

The new engine is matched to a five-speed manual transmission with part-time 4WD and a dual range transfer case. The transmission is actually a sister unit to the one used in the 100 Series turbo-diesel models and features triple-cone synchro on the first three gears.

All 78 Series models have a new front suspension calibration with a revised front lateral control arm bush and steering relay rod that is said to improve handling and steering response.

The turbo-diesel models pick up additional hardware including new coil springs and anti-roll bar settings.

In addition to the new turbo-diesel engine, Toyota has added a new, high-grade RV Cab Chassis variant to the 78 Series range, as well as upgrading the specification of the RV Troop Carrier.

The RV package includes separate driver and passenger front bucket seats with cloth trim, front floor carpet, remote central locking, electric front windows, front door pockets, door armrests and a three-in-one audio system with radio, cassette and CD player.

Exterior features include an electric antenna, aluminium side steps and a chrome pack consisting of radiator grille and surround, front bumper, windscreen surround, indicator and park lamp surround, and drip mouldings.

The RV Cab Chassis picks up a larger wheel/tyre package comprising five-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels and 265/70 Dunlop Grandtrek tyres, as well as black wheel arch extensions.

The RV models also dispense with the antiquated front quarter vent windows that would appear to have survived since the LandCruiser was introduced to Australia in 1957.

All 78 Series models now have the A-pillar mounted air intake snorkel fitted as standard, so the risk of engine damage when attempting water crossings is significantly reduced.

Toyota has forecast sales of 1000 units per month for the upgraded 78 Series range, with two thirds of those likely to be with the new turbo-diesel engine.

PRICING: LandCruiser 78 Series - Petrol 4.5-litre
Cab Chassis $46,500 LandCruiser 78 Series - Diesel 4.2-litre
Cab Chassis $48,470
Troop Carrier (3 seat) $53,700
Troop Carrier (11 seat) $54,580 LandCruiser 78 Series - Turbo Diesel 4.2-litre
Cab Chassis $51,590
RV Cab Chassis $54,940
Troop Carrier (3 seat) $56,820
Troop Carrier (11 seat) $57,700
RV Troop Carrier (5 seat) $59,380

DRIVE IMPRESSIONS:

THE introduction of the turbo-diesel engine to the 78 Series LandCruiser range and the accompanying suspension, steering and specification changes has brought Toyota's workhorse into the new millennium.

The turbo-diesel engine seems to be a better match for the 78 Series than it does for its upmarket 100 Series sibling.

It is a smoother and more willing powerplant, despite the reduced power and torque outputs, although that is possibly a result of the engine noise not standing out against the relative lack of refinement in other areas.

There is still a mountain of torque - more than enough for the chassis to handle - and with the kerb weight in the 78 Series about 600kg less than in the 100 Series, the power and torque reductions are more than offset.

But there is no forgetting that this is still a truck-like work vehicle and not a passenger wagon.

When stepping out of a car or regular four-wheel drive, you need to adapt to the reduced grip level available on turn in, as well as the high-geared steering that requires more than an armful of lock to negotiate roundabouts and tight corners.

Ride and handling is not comparable with a 100 Series LandCruiser wagon, but it is acceptable for the vehicle's position in the market and its intended use. Cabin comfort is much improved, particularly in the RV models where many of the creature comforts have filtered down from the 100 Series.

Off-road the Troop Carrier is still a class-leading vehicle with plenty of ground clearance and wheel articulation to see it through and across most obstacles.

The turbo-diesel engine has created the potential for the 78 Series LandCruiser to be considered an acceptable town and country vehicle, rather than just an out-and-out workhorse.

HiLux mid-life facelift

TOYOTA has also released an upgraded HiLux range, as well as sharpening their pencil on pricing for the company's light commercial competitor.

All HiLux models have been given new frontal styling, with changes to the grille, bonnet, headlight surrounds and bumper, while the sports truck SR5 models also pick up chrome treatment to the grille and bumper as well as new tail-lights and tailgate.

Additional equipment includes a tachometer for all 2.7-litre petrol models, two cupholders for the extra cab and dual cab models, and a rear coat hook on dual cab models.

Interior revisions extend to a new, clearer instrument cluster, new fabric seat trim and a passenger vanity mirror.

All models are now fitted with a more powerful 70-amp alternator, while the paint colour range has been expanded.

Sixteen of the 25 HiLux models have benefited from a reduction in pricing, with up to $1940 being lopped off depending on the model.

PRICING 4x2 Models
2.0L single cab chassis Workmate $17,990
2.0L single cab ute Workmate $19,530
2.7L single cab chassis (man) $19,540
2.7L single cab chassis (auto) $21,380
2.7L single cab ute (man) $20,560
2.7L extra cab ute (man) $26,065
2.7L extra cab ute (auto) $28,135
2.7L dual cab ute (man) $26,110
2.7L dual cab ute (auto) $28,180
2.7L dual cab SR5 ute (man) $30,225
2.7L dual cab SR5 ute (auto) $32,305
3.0L single cab chassis (man) $25,150
3.0L dual cab ute (man) $31,010 4x4 Models
2.7L single cab chassis (man) $29,290
2.7L extra cab ute (man) $34,565
2.7L dual cab ute (man) $34,160
2.7L dual cab SR5 ute $40,545
3.0L single cab chassis $31,650
3.0L extra cab chassis (man) $36,985
3.0L extra cab ute (man) $38,015
3.0L dual cab ute $37,300
3.0L dual cab SR5 ute $43,785
3.0L T/Diesel single cab chassis $33,390
3.0L T/Diesel dual cab ute $39,040
3.0L T/Diesel dual cab SR5 ute $46,425

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